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Time Bandits (Criterion Collection) (Widescreen)

4.0 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm
  • Directors: Terry Gilliam
  • Writers: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam
  • Producers: Terry Gilliam, Denis O'Brien, George Harrison, Neville C. Thompson
  • Format: Color, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 6305283699
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,672 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

In Terry Gilliam's fantastic voyage through time and space, a young boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)-but the Evil Genius (David Warner) is watching their every move! Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and costar Michael Palin, Time Bandits is all at once giddy fairy tale, revisionist history lesson, and satire on technology gone awry.

Special Features

Though there are 1.33:1 versions available, this director approved Criterion DVD beautifully presents Time Bandits in the film's intended 1:85:1 theatrical ratio. Time Bandits was originally shot full screen (aspect ratio 1.33:1) with the intention of it being cropped to fit a widescreen format. Though non-anamorphic, Time Bandits looks very crisp with well-balanced colors and nice contrasts. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio sounds very acceptable with no obvious flaws. With regards to extras, there is a "hands-off" Time Bandits scrapbook that is fairly interesting. But what really sets this DVD apart is the stellar audio commentary by director Terry Gilliam, cowriter/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock ("Kevin"). Gilliam and Warnock provide most of the commentary providing interesting anecdotes and amusing tales of behind-the-scenes shenanigans. These detailed tidbits of information are a "must have" for fans. --Rob Bracco

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In case some of the other reviewers are confused, this film has been presented in the aspect ratio that the director intended it to be in. Yes, the VHS edition shows "more of the frame", but the film was shot with the intention of "matting out" the top and bottom of the screen for theatrical distribution. Therefore in the VHS "full-screen" version, you are only seeing "more" of what the director DOESN'T WANT YOU TO SEE.
Although I understand the frustration of those who are used to seeing the "TV" version, this transfer preserves the integrity of the film as a work of art. That may sound pretensious, but as someone who has much respect for Auteurs like Terry Gilliam, I'm sure I come off as pretensious most of the time.
Oh yeah, this film is also EXCELLENT, but it's still no BRAZIL.
PS: MOST films, with the exception of those shot in Anamorphic or Super 35, are shot in full-frame and then matted for projection. The stuff that the letterboxing "blocks out" is, for the most part, junk. Of course, there are exceptions. Such as when a filmmaker wants the frame to look good in a theatre as well as on television. See Kubrik's "Eyes Wide Shut" (co-written by Frederic Raphael) for a good example of this.
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Format: DVD
As one would expect of a Criterion release, the DVD of "Time Bandits" is an absolute pleasure, from the clean film transfer to the many delightful added features.
The production scrapbook is a treasure, along with the commentary by Gilliam and Palin. These features truly enrich one's appreciation for the film; not only do they lavish praise on the actors playing the "dwarves" (who, in retrospect, did nothing less than a heroic job), but also reveal many of the clever tricks that allowed them to create such a sumptuously beautiful film for the cost of Speilberg's monthly catering bill. Compare this film to expensive clunkers like "Tron" (which came out a year later!) to appreciate the extent of Gilliam's craft. Cleese's description of his day's work is howlingly funny, and David Warner is generous and wryly amusing. The now-grown Craig Warnock is not particularly eloquent, however, and it's hard to tell if he's joking about the film scarring him psychologically!
The trailer is simply awful, after a promising start, but it's indicative of AVCO's cluelessness about how to market such a fresh and original film. They tried to pass it off as Python style comedy, safe for kiddies and fun for grow-ups. In fact, it's nothing of the kind - it's a dangerous and rigorous film that one may wish to keep out of the hands of small children.
Despite it's vague resemblance to "The Wizard of Oz" told upside down (or inside out?), "Time Bandits" is not a typical (modern) children's film. It has an old-fashioned Grimm-ness, with creatures dying nasty, sweaty deaths and even "good" characters behaving quite badly at times.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Classic film, great presentation-- however, features are few, and the resolution is 1080i. Not sure why the distributor would cheap out in such a fashion.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this on the strength of my love of Monty Python. But, in spite of a great cast, terrific acting, and good production values (for its day!), for me, the movie fell flat. There were a few chuckles, but more often heard was, "This must have cost them a fortune!"
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my brother who thought at the time it was the greatest movie of all time. Have to admit it brought back a lot of memories and things we have forgotten. Sure it is old and campy but great if you wish to review movies of that genre.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
No childhood is complete without a copy of this in your DVD library.

A time-hopping adventure from a highly intelligent young boy's point of view, but this is no childish tale. Very much in tune with the original Brothers Grim stories, Time Bandits enjoys its share of "little people," giants, ogres, heroes, and villains. There is no "gratuitous" violence, all the violence has a purpose - to illustrate how absurd life is and how fleeting it can be.

For Sean Connery fans, you get to see him in all his glory as King Agamemnon. Monte Python's John Cleese reprises the role of Robin Hood as never seen before (Prince Philip, eat your heart out.) Michael Palin and Shelly Duvall play recurring roles as lovers Vincent & Pansy in different eras, with hilarious results. Other major players include: Ian Holm as Napoleon, Ralph Richardson as "the Supreme Being" (aka God), and David Warner as "Evil."

Terry Gilliam's directing, story construction, and sets are so rich that you have to watch Time Bandits several times to really "see" everything therein. If you've seen it before, you need to see it again, and if you haven't seen it yet - what are you waiting for?
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Format: VHS Tape
Where director Terry Gilliam scores highly, quite apart from the casting coups of Richardson and Connery, is that the film sees things from the child's point of view. this is good both for children watching the film, and for any adults who still have a child-like sense of fun and adventure. This is aided by clever casting of midgets in the principle roles and a capable and likeable actor as 'point of identification' Kevin. Whilst it's not so surprising to see them, John Cleese and Michael Palin also turn in good performances, as do the other members of the star-studded cast. The visuals are suitably surreal and imaginative with my favourite scene being the boat on top of the island which turns out to be the giant's head. There are plenty of other set pieces which show Gilliam's skill as a designer (he storyboarded the whole film) as well as director. The story itself has some good dialogue (the script was co-written by Gilliam and Michael Palin) and a plot which is as full as it needs to be to move from set piece to set piece, and leads us to an ultimately satisfying yet unexpected ending.
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